Sunday, January 24, 2010




: to brighten or freshen up : renovate

the room above my mother's garage (not a metaphor) has been a haven for many. in the years before i began to utilize the space (idle since the the early 70s when my brothers' father used it as a drug den) the room sat untouched and filled floor to ceiling, front to back, with junk: old furniture, broken lamps, moldy newspapers, a rusted file cabinet, a couple dirty mattresses, and dozens of limp, spider webby cardboard boxes filled with soggy paperback novels and trash. i was often intrigued with the space, but i could only make it a foot into the room without confronting the wall of refuse.

in the sixth grade, my friend samantha (see jan. 12) and i started a club called "the mobsters" (we were trying really hard to be tough) and we decided to REFURBISH the space for our clubhouse. we simply began moving the junk out of the room and throwing it off the deck into into a pile behind the garage. that pile is still there, almost 20 years later, slowly decomposing into the earth.

we were able to get the room down to the essentials: a large table, one dirty mattress and some of the smaller furniture pieces that weren't completely ruined by the elements.

when "the mobsters" dissipated over the next year, the room was used again in the eighth grade for another club that katy and i started in an attempt to be even tougher than the mobsters. we administered a test to get in the club, with multiple choice questions like:

what would you do if you were caught shoplifting?

a) confess
b) run like hell
c) lie

we were hoping the girls would answer b or c, but most of our friends were just uncomfortable with the questions. the club was eventually named AOPE (asylum of peaceful eternity), a name chosen by our token hippie friend, Allison, and voted on by the majority of girls in the club. katy and i did not vote for this name—it was too nice. but we were trying to be democratic. AOPE also failed.

in high school, the room again became a drinking and drug den for my friends. it slowly filled up with empty 40's and crushed soda can bowls. high school heart throb kel drunkenly pissed in my mother's plastic light up santa claus. no one told me until months later.

the room underwent a second REFURBISHING around the year 1999, when josh, randy and i took the space over for the music project: ASS records. this was more of an actual renovation project: installing insulation, sheet rock walls, and carpeting, painting, and turning on the electricity (which my mother always said did not work—it was just in the "off" position on the circuit breaker).

on one snowy afternoon, we brought a space heater up to the room (then called: the ASS) so we could finish some painting. randy got naked and dipped his penis into a bucket of paint to make prints on the wall. he then leaned out the window and yelled to my neighbor/high school gym teacher, who happened to be shoveling his driveway:

"hey! mr. mann! what's up."

mr. mann squinted into the snowy air, "who is that?"

"it's randy holden! from gym class last year!"

"oh...hi randy..."

i think mr. mann was pretty bummed to be our neighbor some times. this was probably one of those times.

the ASS is currently being used as a drinking/drug den for my younger sister and her friends. this seems to be its chosen fate. i'm hoping the next underground political revolution will begin there. unfortunately, all members would probably suffer from asbestos poisoning before they could make any progress.

and for the record, my choice then was, b) run like hell. and i wasn't that bad—i never even shoplifted. it was all hypotheticals.

i did write on the walls of the public library, though.

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